State Department and CBP Ease Passport Requirements for Returning U.S. Citizens

May 28, 2021 Anne Walsh

The U.S. State Department and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have announced that certain U.S. citizens may return to the country using expired passports.


Through December 31, 2021, the U.S. government will allow U.S. citizens to return to the U.S. using passports that expired on or after January 1, 2020, provided they meet certain requirements.

Travelers will be granted entry into the U.S. if they have a direct flight into the country, a U.S. territory, or if they will fly through another country via a connecting flight to reach the U.S. Additionally, the expired passport must have had an initial validity of 10 years, or five years for U.S. citizens who were 15 years old or younger when the passport was issued. The expired passport must be in the traveler’s possession, undamaged and unaltered at the time of travel.

Travelers who qualify for the eased travel restrictions should also note that they are only permitted to enter the U.S. with an expired passport. U.S. citizens may not use expired passports to enter a foreign country, except for transiting through on a connecting flight to return home to the U.S., nor can they depart from the U.S. to a foreign country with an expired passport.

Looking Ahead

Although the government has announced eased restrictions for travelers, the protocols only apply to a limited number of individuals. Envoy Global and Global Immigration Associates (GIA) will continue to provide updates on additional COVID-19 travel regulations as they become available.

Envoy is pleased to provide you this information, which was prepared in collaboration with Anne Walsh, who is a Partner at Global Immigration Associates, P.C. (, Envoy’s affiliated law firm.

Content in this publication is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an Envoy-affiliated attorney or another qualified professional.

About the Author

Anne is a Partner with Global Immigration Associates. In this role, she provides counsel for companies ranging from startups to Fortune 500 corporations and their foreign national employees. Anne’s practice focuses on obtaining visas and employment-based green cards in all categories; immigration compliance arising from corporate changes, such as reorganizations and restructuring; and office relocations and company immigration policies and best practices. She also has extensive experience preparing and reviewing business immigration filings, requests for further evidence and appeals, and in researching and analyzing immigration statutes, policy and procedure. Anne works with clients in several industries, including software, cloud technology, manufacturing and electronics. In addition to her employment-based practice, Anne provides counsel for individuals pursuing visas and green cards through family relationships.

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